In a world where billions of people speak English, you may think getting a Burmese translator isn’t necessary, but that isn’t the case. Translation is a talent that demands an impressive combination of writing and linguistic skills, and it’s vital for a personal or business transaction.
Burmese is the official language of Myanmar. It is the native language of the majority of Burmans. However, it is also spoken as the second language of other people in the country who grew up speaking their unique dialect. Burmese, as with other Lolo dialects, belong to the Kukish and Kachinish languages of Myanmar and its neighboring countries.
If you need a Burmese translator, here are some things you need to keep in mind.
About the Burmese Language
The Burmese language is spoken by approximately 32 million people. The main characteristics of this language are it is tonal and syllable-timed.
The majority of people who speak Burmese live in the Irrawaddy River Valley, and they use similar dialects, which include Merguese, Tavoyan, Palaw, Yaw, Danu, Intha, and Taungyo. But remarkably, Burmese is quite uniform among people who speak the language, especially throughout the valley. The standard Burmese language is represented by the Yangon dialect due to the media influence and the economic clout in the city. But in the past, the Burmese language was represented by the Mandalay dialect.
The modern standard Burmese has gone through changes compared with old Burmese. The Burmese language dates back to the 11th century, but the modern Burmese emerged only in the mid-18th century. During this time, the male literacy in the country was 50 percent, and this enabled the circulation of religious and legal texts, as well as royal chronicles. One reason why the Burmese language is so uniform is because of Buddhist monasteries or “Kyaung” located in several Burmese villages. These monasteries became the foundation of the pre-colonial education system, and they encouraged uniformity throughout the Irrawaddy valley.
The expansion of the language to Lower Burma also happened at the same time as the emergence of the modern Burmese language. In the mid-18th century, Mon, an Austroasiatic language, used to be the major language of people in Lower Burma. However, they shifted from this language to Burmese because it was the spoken language of the Konbaung Dynasty which ruled in 1757. More than a century later in 1830, around 90 percent of the population in the area identified themselves as Burmese speakers.
Its standardized tone
It is important to note that the standardized tone that marks written Burmese did not come to be until the 18th century. From this time onward, orthography experts reformed the spelling of Burmese words because there were ambiguities that popped us over transcribing the sounds that have merged over time. Additionally, the British rule also made efforts to standardize spelling with the help of spellers and dictionaries.
A language revival also happened in the Burmese language in the 1930s. This was precipitated due to the establishment of the University of Rangoon. Another factor was the inception of a Burmese language major at universities that was modeled from the Anglo Saxon language studies in Oxford. The 1948 Constitution established Burmese as the official language of Burma. The Rangoon University Department of Translation and Publication and the Burma Translation Society were also established in 1948 and 1947 to modernize the language and replace the use of English in all disciplines.
Burmese Writing System
The Burmese alphabet has 12 vowels and 33 letters. It is written from left to right. Also, it does not require spaces between words. But note that its modern writing follows spaces after every clause to improve its readability.
The alphabet features circular letters. The letters also have their vowel. The vowel modifications and tone markings are written placed to the left, top, right, and bottom of the letters. The Burmese language consonants are arranged in six groups, just like other Brahmi scripts.
It is also largely analytic and monosyllabic and follows a subject-object-verb order. The pronouns in the language also vary depending on the status of the audience and the gender. Burmese is a monosyllabic language. Meaning, all words are a root where a participle but not another word can be prefixed. The sentence structure determines the relation when it comes to syntax. The verbs are also not conjugated and have participles suffixed to them.
It is also interesting to know that Burmese does not have adjectives but verbs that carry meaning to be the adjective. This is what makes a Burmese translator’s job tricky.
How Important Is the Job of a Burmese Translator?
The skills of Burmese translators are now becoming more important. Today’s multilingual and multicultural society now demands efficient, empathetic, and effective communication between cultures and languages. We’ll explore various reasons why it’s important.
Not everyone in Burma speaks English or another language
Because English or another language is commonly spoken in your area, you may question why hiring a Burmese translator is important. However, the reality is that not everyone in Burma can speak English. Language is much more than the accurate communication of words. It is also an expression of belief, society, and culture. Therefore, assuming that everyone speaks your language will lead to loss of heritage and culture.
It enables the global economy
As travel and communication advances, geography has become less of a barrier. Brands can make money when they branch out to other countries like Myanmar since they can take advantage of lower-cost in production, as well as services.
When you plan on doing business in Myanmar, you need a Burmese translator to help you communicate your ideas and messages effectively. Other languages like English are common in Myanmar. However, this may not always be the case in the years to come. Soon, more people may speak Burmese, and when a market emerges rapidly, the demand for translation to and from this language will surely increase.
It enables the accurate spread of ideas
Hiring a Burmese translator for your voice-over scripts, e-mail marketing blurbs, or even your YouTube subtitle will enable the effective spread of communication between two cultures. This is very important if you want to maintain social harmony. You wouldn’t want to have a culturally insensitive slogan for an ad.
Not only that but having a Burmese translator will enable other people and your brand to expand your knowledge in a lot of ways.
Qualities of a Good Translator
Not all bilingual people can become Burmese translators. It is a very demanding career that needs determination and talent. Translators must be able to produce quality texts consistently while also maintaining their curiosity for the language. Here are some qualities of a good Burmese translator.
There are a lot of Burmese translators who are native speakers of the language. These people grew up in Burma or a Burmese home overseas. If not, the qualified ones have a very high level of fluency that allows them to communicate and understand the Burmese language at a level that’s very close to a native speaker.
Linguistic excellence relies on the mastery of specialized terminology, jargon, and basic vocabulary. Translators should also be familiar with the differences in dialects since it can affect the comprehension of the target audience.
Appreciation for culture
A Burmese translator needs to appreciate and respect the cultures they represent in their work. The best professionals know that they should be able to break down the stigmas, misconceptions, and other gaps and barriers that prevent people from understanding one another. They must also believe that they have a role to play in business and personal transactions.
This professional must have a thorough understanding of the traditions and attitudes that make their culture specialization different, and they should know the factors that influence the language since there is always an interplay between language and culture.
Awareness of language evolution
Languages constantly change. And changes become more evident if you look at media and literature from decades past. Whether it’s from 2000 to 2021, the way people write and talk differ, so a Burmese translator needs to make an effort to be up to date with modern changes in vocabulary.
As technology evolves, the methods of translating and its modes also shift. For example, artificial intelligence is poised to make a huge difference in the translation industry in the coming years. Successful Burmese translators do not avoid these helpful changes but view them as an opportunity to serve their clients better.
Attention to detail
When it comes to Burmese translations, no detail should be spared. A single letter or word can change the entire meaning of a document. Professional Burmese translators do their best to be consistent with the source document, especially with technical terms. They also maintain the style of the original document, whether it’s professional or casual.
Tight deadlines are normal in the translation industry, and minutes can make a difference. In important situations, the clients may demand that professionals complete projects in record time. That said, the mistakes that Burmese translators make because of rushing can cause conflicts such as lost time. This is why professionals need to know how to achieve the perfect balance between accuracy and speed.
Ready to Hire a Burmese Translator?
Looking for the best Burmese translator can be very stressful, but once you find the right professional for your project, you will take pride in the final output. While there is no denying the power of English and other commonly used languages, translating to Burmese will remain important in the foreseeable future, especially when it comes to personal documents and business marketing. Contact Bunny Studio for expert assistance with your Burmese translation needs.